Article 6(d) Advisory Opinion

Parties details:

As applicants: Centre for Human Rights, Pretoria; Federation for Women’s Rights Kenya, Women’s Legal Centre, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Zimbabwe Women’s Lawyers Association.

Summary of legal issue:

ISLA was co-counsel in a case in which various women’s rights NGO’s lodged a request for an advisory opinion on Article 6(d) of the Maputo Protocol. The applicants asked, amongst other relief, that the African Court advise on the nature and scope of Article 6(d) in respect of recording and registration of marriages. In assessing its jurisdiction in the case, the African Court interpreted Article 4(1) of the Protocol establishing the African Court and ruled that the Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

Theory of change:

Article 6(d) of the Maputo Protocol requires that for every marriage to be legally recognised, it shall be recorded in writing and registered in terms of applicable national laws of Member States. The case sought to clarify what Article 6(d) means. Currently, women were still in a vulnerable state because the non-registration and non-recordal of marriages was entrenching discrimination against women and in some cases, States were not passing laws to regulate the recordal and registration of marriages. The Request for an Advisory Protocol therefore required the African Court to interpret Article 6(d) and the States obligations.